As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently completed a one-month Facebook vacation. For many of us who spend a good deal of our work time in front of the computer, sites like Facebook are a huge “time-sucker,” and for many people the behavior is truly out of control. Much like more conventional addictions, the best approach to an unhealthy Facebook obsession is to go cold turkey.
My last post offered three tips for a successful Facebook vacation. Now, I want to briefly highlight three benefits that I’ve experienced from having taken this break. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be well-prepared and highly motivated to complete your own Facebook vacation.
1. Clarity about Facebook friends
Many of us have far more Facebook friends than we ever could have imagined, and many of these people do not really count as friends in anything but the Facebook sense. By taking a break from Facebook, you will gain a better sense of whose Facebook updates really matter to you, and which are simply cluttering up your home page.
After your Facebook vacation ends, you will be highly motivated to purge these Facebook pseudo-friends. The result is a more streamlined home page. More importantly, this is a page you can easily skim through in just a minute or two, and with less likelihood that you will become distracted away from more important activities.
2. You aren’t missing much.
It turns out that, despite one month away from Facebook, I didn’t become a recluse or a pariah, miss out on anyone’s life-changing news, or frankly, miss anything important at all. The Facebook lives of my Facebook friends went on just as before. They didn’t seem to miss me, and if I missed them, I can’t say much about what it is that I missed.
The reality is that online communities are mostly superficial; anything you miss by taking a break is probably not worth being around for anyway. But when you’re in the grips of “the Beast,” it’s hard to imagine that this could be so.
3. The Force is strong with this one.
Even after taking a one-month break, seeing that Facebook isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and realizing how much time you are wasting on this stupid site, you will immediately feel the pull to go right back to your old behavioral pattern. Re-enter the fray with great caution, and make an effort to hold yourself back as much as possible. Otherwise, all your hard work will be for naught.
This is way tougher than it sounds. Facebook obsession is much more like a “real” addiction than I ever imagined.
You already have some idea of how to succeed at your Facebook vacation, and now I’ve given you some reason to want to do it (as if your chronic time-wasting wasn’t motivation enough). All that’s left now is to do it. Take that step, commit to a Facebook vacation, and get some of your time back.
Unfortunately, no amount of writing can get you to take that last step. Making the most of your time is ultimately up to you. Do stop by and let us know how it’s going!
About the Author
Elijah Weber is a graduate student at Bowling Green State University. He holds a Master's degree in philosophy from Colorado State University, and Bachelor’s degrees in sociology and philosophy from Chapman University. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife Laura, his son Brandon, and two cats.